Bringing Intelligence to Relationships (I Samuel 25:1-11)
Underlying Issues Facing Relationships Today
Communication (Most communication is selective/limited disclosure)
Management of Emotions (Infidelity is prevalent because of a lack of self-control. Emotional intelligence helps manage emotions)
Boundary issues (Values help build a safe environment where a relationship thrives; Trust is the most important predictor of long-term relational success)
Marital vision (Helps solidify your dream marriage in a few sentences; provided areas of common understanding in a relationship. Clear priorities help keep the relationship focused; Understanding one another’s priorities, and connecting in ways that are important to both partners help ensure long-term relational success).
How do we get things right?
Since God is a relational being, he created us to be relational beings. Relationships define what it means to be human. Relationships also influence association and the level of connectedness and interaction between a couple. God must remain the source of our love.
John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Abigail’s story reveals a woman with extreme qualities. Scripture gives us no clue as to Abigail’s parentage or genealogy. She demonstrated attributes of respect, wisdom, decisiveness and honesty.
The Bible describes Nabal as wealthy and marries Abigail, who was “intelligent” (NIV). Abigail was “clever” and “of good understanding.” The Bible also states that she was of a beautiful countenance…”
Being a Gracious and merciful woman, she found herself in a difficult context where her character is stretched and tested. Nabal became an instrument in God’s hands to grow and stretch Abigail’s marriage
The character of a marriage is determined by the values each spouse embraces. In relationships, our ACTIONS reveal your PRIORITIES and what we STAND for in life.
One can see from the story that she leaves behind traces of discernment, intelligence, and great wisdom in her actions. ACTIONS based on intelligent thought are a source of strength to any relationship.
Although Nebal was wealthy, his ACTIONS revealed showed the he was a mean spirited person. When he receives a request from David for help, his reaction reveals a short-tempered man who never considered the consequences of his actions.
Emotions play a special part in the way a couple handles conflicting situations in their marriage
Although this marriage may be perceived as strange and perturbing, Abigail does not allow her emotions to over-rule her judgment. One can clearly see that, the incompatibility in this union could have been good fodder for future fights. However, Abigail took her husband’s indifference as an opportunity to save the family.
What was key about this marriage?
Their VALUES were on a COLLISION course.
Their APPROACH to issues was as different.
Life is better lived through our value system. Abigail was not only WISE, but a persuasive NEGOTIATOR, conflict MANAGER, and SELFLESS in all her actions.
Phil. 2:3,4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Spouses who see each other through God’s lens, are most likely to make the sacrifices needed to bring health and restoration. Abigail’s actions showed that she worried about her wicked, drunk, and arrogant man.
In fact she ACKNOWLEDGES her husband’s “foolishness.“ Her ACTIONS prove that she was not IGNORANT about the CONSEQUENCES of her husband’s INACTION! She apologizes for the husband’s rude behavior
Walking in DECIET and PRIDE places a marriage on a faulty foundation.
While Nabal is filled with PRIDE and ARROGANCE toward David, Abigail uses her intelligence and CHARM to craft a plan NOT ONLY to save her children; BUT ALSO her wicked, selfish and arrogant husband as well.
REFUSING to maintain the status quo, she REMOVES the BARRIERS that caused OBSTRUCTION. She moved beyond Concern for SELF to Concern for OTHERS. This helped her avoid COMPROMISE and instead choose to CONFRONT the conflict. She does not allow her anxiety, disappointment, and fear to cause her to RETREAT or to CLOUD her judgement. Embracing emotional intelligence is the ability to manage one’s emotions while at the same time keeping an eye on the other person’s emotions and how that could affect one’s sound judgement. Abigail is confronted by two REALITIES: the INACTION of an arrogant husband and the ANGER of an hungry enemy. Successful spouses must be willing to make the needed changes as they confront conflicting situations. We learn from this couple that “The REACTIONS of others should not COMPROMISE how we BEHAVE or ACT.” Great relationships that embrace intelligence gain the needed soberness to relate well. Relational intelligence helps a couple to identify, analyze and manage negative emotions when dealing with an issue. Positive EMOTIONS help bestow PERSPECTIVE and CLARITY on how we handle an issue. This is what results in GROWTH and couple SYNERGY.
There are four ways a couple could use emotional intelligence:
- Improve their Perception Ability
- Increase Assimilation of Information
- Create better Understanding
- Bridge the Disconnection.
Every spouse must realize that, the key to a good decision making is based on a combination of: good thinking (intellect) and positive feelings (emotions).
People who have a healthy relationship with themselves, care for themselves well and take responsibility for their actions. A couple enjoying a healthy relationship is better positioned to deal with their relational problems with objectivity.
RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE MUST BE BASED ON CERTAIN PRINCIPLES
- Need to create a SAFE environment that is conducive for authentic relationships. Safe environment break down walls of separation and suspicion between a couple.
- Self care is key to a couple’s PERCEPTION. Perception affects how a couple relates and handles others in moments of conflict.
- Positive emotions have the power to break down walls. Used well, emotional intelligence helps create open and trusting environment that promotes healing.
- Relationships that lack emotional intelligence lack of disclosure and grow stale with time.
- Relational pain can be a great opportunity for interrogating emotional reactions. Well managed emotional reactions can result in growth.